Beloved comedic actor and one of Brazil’s most prominent LGBTQ+ public figures Paulo Gustavo sadly passed away last week of COVID-19. The Rio de Janeiro native is survived by his husband and their one-year-old twins.
Gustavo starred in a number of hit cable TV shows in Brazil and went on to star in some of the highest-grossing feature films in Brazilian movie history, according to CinemaTropical.
He was perhaps best known for his role as Dona Hermínia in the highly acclaimed film trilogy Minha Mãe É Uma Peça / My Mother Is a Character.
Gustavo and his husband Thales Bretas, a dermatologist, were married in December 2015. In August 2019, the couple became fathers when their twins Gael and Romeu were born to a surrogate in the U.S.
In mid-March 2021, after Gustavo was diagnosed with COVID-19, he was hospitalized at Copa Star Hospital in Rio de Janeiro, according to pinknews. One week later, he required intubation.
His condition had reportedly worsened by the start of May, and he passed away at the hospital on May 4th after contracting air embolisms in his lungs.
In an emotional Instagram post following Gustavo’s death, Bretas said he had been so happy over the past seven years “because I had the privilege of living with you.”
“I hope I can pass on a little of your legacy of generosity, affection, joy and love,” Bretas said. “You are a hurricane! A star that shone a lot here on Earth, and will shine even more in the sky, always looking out for our family.”
According to CinemaTropical, Gustavo’s death also stirred emotions on both sides of Brazil’s political spectrum. A moment of silence was held in Brazil's Senate for Gustavo on Wednesday.
Conservative President Jair Bolsonaro, who has famously downplayed the COVID-19 threat in Brazil — and has made disparaging and homophonic remarks towards the LGBTQ community — tweeted his sadness about Gustavo’s death. “With his talent and charisma, [he] conquered the affection of all Brazil,” Bolsonaro said of Gustavo.
Leftist former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva also honored Gustavo, calling him "a great Brazilian who celebrated our country with so much joy.”